“Today, a big tree has fallen.” These are the words of Old Preppie Will Fowlds in response to the very sad news on 22 June, that Lorraine Mullins – or Mr Prep, as he was affectionately known – had passed away.
Born in Robert House on 22 February 1935, Lorraine spent almost his entire life at St Andrew’s Prep. In fact, the tree on Robert House lawns pictured on page 1 was planted when he was born. His father, Griff Mullins was Headmaster at the time and so, before he officially became a Prep pupil,
Lorraine learned to walk and talk and play on the familiar grounds of Prep. In fact, the large tree on Robert House lawns was planted when he was born 87 years ago.
Previous Headmaster, Anthony Parnell, said this about Lorraine Mullins in Prep’s “I’ll Sing You One, Oh!”, authored by Lorraine Mullins: “He has been attached umbilically to this extraordinary school as an infant, pupil, stooge, teacher, housemaster and ultimately Second Master for a total of
That was 11 years ago. Since then, Lorraine – together with Ronwynne Barnard and Aldy Vetch – has been involved in the extremely valuable task of organising Prep’s archives; captioning and filing old photos, tying up the pieces of Preppies’ lives from the 137 years of Prep’s existence.
After his happy school days at Prep and St Andrew’s College, Lorraine returned to Prep as a Stooge, teacher, housemaster and ultimately Deputy Headmaster.
During these years, Lorraine “demonstrated, on a consistent basis, extraordinary skills in responding to the challenges of educating young boys: a teacher of every subject in the curriculum (including isiXhosa), a knowledgeable sports coach, particularly of rugby, a producer of plays, a highly
talented watercolour and oils artist, a scholarly ornithologist, a walking encyclopedia of the history of the Eastern Cape, particularly of its fauna and flora, and much more besides.
But best of all, as Second Master, the keeper of the peace between the Headmaster and the staff, the boys, parents and the Governors.” – Anthony Parnell Parnell went on to say, “But there was something else about Lorraine that was not necessarily manifest in the daily routine of school life – it was his Christian humility, his unshakeable integrity, his compassion, his commitment to uncovering the goodness of everyone in the school, his
belief in the sanctity of family life; it was – in a word – his humanity. What great gifts in one man!”
One of the wonderful talents Lorraine possessed – and shared so willingly – was his incredible ability to paint. He could often be seen sitting on Robert House lawns with his faithful dog Dawie beside him, painting the front of Robert House and its gardens. For many staff who left Prep for one
reason or another, their desired gift from the School was a Lorraine Mullins painting.
In 2016, Prep proudly opened the magnificent hive of industry that is the Lorraine Mullins Centre for Creative Learning. The Centre is a wonderful space for Preppies to problem-solve, create, design, paint and do project-based work, and is a huge asset to the School.
St Andrew’s Prep has indeed been incredibly blessed to have the indispensable contributions and service of this most wonderful man for so many years. Our deepest condolences go to the family and the members of the Prep and Makhanda community whom his life touched.
At the end of his book, Lorraine makes a last request. It is this: “Go on caring. Care about yourselves, your work and your play, your family and your friends; about the world about you, and about what you believe in. Just care!”
Thank you, Lorraine, for caring and for being the living example of this to all of us at Prep for so many years.